Category Archives: health

Obamacare Eggs and Ham


I wish I could make a decent joke about the Affordable Healthcare Act and women and reproduction ans stuff (thus tying in the Obamacare Eggs) but I can’t seem to make the link work.

I also fully admit to not know all the ins and out of AHA, which is why I’ve refrained from really discussing it, but no only are the premiums are coming in below the predictions of the Congressional Budget Office, but individuals will have an average of 53 qualified health plan choices. That’s pretty fantastic.

Then I saw this today, which just made me giggle.

Image


Internet Hoaxes: Sociopathic Genius


No, I will not be talking about Manti Te’o or What’s-his-face-with-too-many-letters-in-his-name.

Instead, I will be talking about a blog I follow, not with any regularity, just once a month I remember it’s there and I go read all the updates. It’s the Warrior Eli Hoax Group, initially formed to expose a hoax regarding the Warrior Eli case (you can read back on that at the blog). Since then, blogstress Taryn Harper Wright and her team have uncovered a plethora of panhandling people. Some of the lies and drama were set up like a house of cards, once you noticed one lie or red flag, you saw that they were all wrong, and the whole thing comes tumbling down.

Some, however, are built up on such an intricately interwoven web of lies, that all I can do is marvel at the time and effort it must have taken to set it all up.

There are two cases in particular that blow my mind. One is ‘Chelsea Goldberg,’ and to be honest, this one is so ridiculous that I don’t know if I’ll even be able to do the story justice, so I’ll let you read through everything if you so choose. I’ll summarize the best I can:
‘Chelsea Goldberg’ has leukemia. She has several brothers and sisters who all kept up a blog to document her struggles. She also does not exist. The real Chelsea (whose last name I’m not including, just to stay out of any surrounding legal drama that may or may not be real) has two children of whom she doesn’t have custody, has a history of making up stories, and forging financial documents. There is currently a blog that directly states Ms. Wright is a liar, indicating that the author is Chelsea, but Chelsea tells Ms. Wright she did not create or write it (though the wording is nearly identical to one of the comments that one of Chelsea’s sockpuppets posted). Ms. Wright also received a cease and desist letter from a completely nonexistent law firm with verbiage similar to one that I just found online for DirectBuy, proving that it’s very simple to make it up, with a name that cannot be found anywhere, a phone number that no longer exists (though there was a voice mailbox at one point, according to Ms. Wright) and a street address that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t exist.

This person has gone through a lot of trouble to set up her scam. Ms. Wright’s research is very thorough, and she believes that the anti-WEHG and this “cease and desist notice” are not from the real Chelsea. Which means, either someone is trying to scam a scammer, or, possibly Chelsea is even more effed up than anyone realizes, and/or has people helping her. For instance, the letter didn’t come from the same state in which the real Chelsea lives. It is, however, the state that ‘Chelsea Goldberg’ was from.

 

Another story that amazes me, that had some recent comment updates, is that of Jessica Friend. She is 18, with Hodgkins, began losing her hair before she even started chemo, broke up with her boyfriend but while in the midst of barely hanging on to her life, managed to start dating someone else. Oh, and when she wasn’t busy pretending to be her mom with this cancer story, she was busy pretending to be pregnant and looking for potential adoptive couples. She reached out on twitter to talk to other girls who had done the same. She took this one so far that she contacted couples who were looking to adopt. One of the commenters (who was one of the people that Jess contacted) explained that Jess said she was in a teenage mother group at her school that was run by the school social worker, and that the social worker was going to help her with the adoption. When they referred Jess to their agency, she made up a gmail account with the social worker’s name and emailed the couple and the agency.  This couple was suspicious (why not use the school email, right?) and looked up the social worker’s real name and address on the school website, forwarding her the email. They ended up speaking to school officials, and filing a police report.

Let me just repeat this for you: She contacted couples. To offer them a child. That didn’t exist.

Of all the fakers and scam artists Ms. Wright has outed, this is by far the worst. The other ones, yes, they are damaging to people’s emotions and psyche, and even more so to parents who do have children who are ill, who are watching their own children battle something that they cannot protect them from. Then there are the ones who set up fundraising accounts and intentionally defraud people for money.

But this… she led people to believe that she had a child that they would be able to raise. Fucking disgusting.

 

So, why do I call this genius? Because just think what these people could accomplish if they turned this into something creative! Stephen King is obviously wacked in the head, but instead of a psychotic serial killer, he turns his thoughts into novels.  If these girls (and it really is mostly girls) could just use these storylines for actual stories, and put the work into a real entertainment source, they could get the attention they obviously crave, but instead of pity and sympathy, get admiration and respect.

Every time I read these, I think of my own “scam” that I once ran, ten years or so ago, to increase exposure for relatively meaningless online awards. I created ten different emails between yahoo, Hotmail, and I think msn to correspond to the ten made-up people in this group I was in. The group was real. The names given were not.  Then I created a community blog page (on livejournal? I honestly don’t even remember) and accounts for each of the names, and even created a few posts, this was supposed to be our group’s main chatting space, to give the names some legitimacy.  I spent an afternoon all of this, altering the post-time on everything, so that they looked like they’d been done over time, a new post every week or so, nothing long, just a summary of what the actual group did that week or events that were coming up, and I distinctly remember the very first post being like ‘welcome to the new page’ or something, so that it wouldn’t look suspicious when the posts only went back by a few months. Then, I would use one of the sockpuppets to nominate myself, and then I would pick two more to do the actual voting, in addition to my own legitimate vote. In short, I voted for myself four times. Now, I didn’t always win, so it’s not like I gained that unfair of an advantage. Also, it was a simple online form, so I’m sure I’m not the only one who voted with multiple emails, though I may have been the only one who went so far to cover their tracks. I kept up the appearance with the group blog thing, and used the multiple emails every time. Other than that, I had no interaction with anyone with these fake names. Ever. After maybe six months, it just got to ridiculous. I still got my 4 votes by using the email to vote, but I wasn’t trying to create an online presence for those names anymore.

And once again, this was to win – and just to get my name mentioned more often – online awards. The award itself is a banner graphic. That’s is. No cash money, no tangible award. These people are spending weeks, months, some of them years, forging relationships under these fake identities. These people, the things they go after…. it’s appalling.

But like I said, the effort some people put into these things is staggering. In the hoax that started it all, Emily had those rubber bracelets made up that said Warrior Eli. I can’t imagine what they cost her. I don’t know how many she got or where she got them from, and I’m sure the more she bought, the cheaper they each got, but she invested serious money into her hoax (anything over fifteen dollars is serious, in my opinion – and I know she spent at least that: I bought 12 bracelets once from a site for our football crew, close to $50).

Seriously, I need to know what is happening in some of these brains.


Your Angry Vent is the New Profiling Tool


If there is one lament that I truly have about the world today, it’s the endless cynicism coupled with the need to the “right” and not fooled by anyone. This is evident in the comments section on any viral image, all the calls of “Fake!” “Photoshop!” “It’s not real!” Recently a page I follow posted an image of a girl with eyes the lightest shade of turquoise (think Vanessa Williams’ eyes in terms of how light they were)  and talked about how gorgeous they were. The picture had some ‘touched-up’ qualities about it, but nothing about it screamed fake. Of course, people had to point out the most minute and even nonexistent of details to prove that they were not fooled by it, that they knew it was photoshopped. One girl went as far to say that the whites of her eyes were too white, that you couldn’t see the tiny red blood vessels. I was so astounded by this that I had to go look through my own pictures, wondering how easily-seen my own blood vessels were. They weren’t. My eyes were brown (green in one or two of them) and my eyeballs white. No capillaries to be seen. I briefly considered replying to the girl that if her own eyes were bloodshot, she might want to look into that (pun intended) but then just didn’t care. I was too busy thinking how jaded all these people must be that they couldn’t just look at the picture, think to themselves, ‘Wow, those are pretty eyes!’ but instead had to dissect it to figure out what was fake.

The same goes for FB statuses, Tweets, and blog posts. Anyone who had ever made one of those “Dear Inanimate Object/Location/Random collective noun” posts, be careful! Especially if the subsequent lines include any kind of reference to causing harm. Instead of your followers or friends just reading it and laughing at your sarcastic humor, someone might read it and start accusing you as being full of hate for your toaster, or the barista who still can’t seem to get your order right, or the traffic lights. They’ll say that you’re vindictive a cruel, and launch a campaign against you, under the guise of looking out for that safety of your toaster.

By now, I’m sure you’ve all seen the “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” post from The Anarchist Soccer Mom Liza Long, but have you seen the highly speculative “critique” by Sarah Kendzior? Kendzior goes through Long’s posts one by one (going back several years), and isolates single lines, removing them from context and painting Long as a vindictive, viscious parent who wishes harm on her children on a daily basis.

For instance, she describes Long as having violent and paranoid fantasies about her family, wanting to choke them out them and give them to the state.

What Long really said: “Your ‘I love to fart on you’ song may seem whimsical or even clever to you, my dear seven year old. But it makes me want to throttle you. And you, the 11 year old in the back, if you even touch your brother again, I will call your parole officer.  I quit! Let the state take care of you and your compulsive inability to stop poking people.”

On its own, especially while given the precursory intro as a parent with violent fantasies, this sounds damning. However, the entire blog entry is one long vent, about her own kids and her students. I’m sorry, do we not all have bad days? Do we not all let the phrase “punch him/her in the face” cross our lips from time to time? I recently had the pleasure of working with the biggest Debbie Downer complaining hag on the planet. I’m pretty sure I talked every day about how much I wanted to slap her. I guess that means I have violent fantasies. Oh darn.

Kendzior pulls a post from earlier this year, introducing it as “On her allegedly violently insane son, described pre-Newtown massacre as a normal boy“. Yes, Kendzior, most people dealing with mental illness themselves or a family member with such an affliction have thousands of normal days. Long never indicated in her ‘I am Adam Lanza’s Mother’ post (actually titled Thinking the Unthinkable) that her son woke up as such an angry frightening young man every single day. In fact, the reason she fears and needs help is because he’s so unpredictable. Kendzior attempts to make Long’s post a total jump-the-shark moment, as if Long had never given any indication in the past of any problem. If she’d actually read the blog, she know that was patently untrue. She must have missed the post from the fall of 2010 where this same boy threatened to kill himself.

She refers to a post as “forcing her son to climb a mountain despite the fact that he is in physical pain,” when in reality, the post is about climbing back down the mountain, and realistically, there was no other option for the son other than to keep descending. Talk about crucifying someone. Kendzior explains the same post as “having Abraham-Isaac murder fantasies.” Really? Because a one-line reference to Abraham, in which Long is talking about sacrifice,  giving up something that you value greatly for those you love, specifically a decision not to jump across a crevasse when she really wanted to do so. It was an existential internal soliloquy, wondering why we want to do things if we’re going to get to the point of doing them and then decide not to, situationally applied to climbing a mountain only to decide not to jump across the crevasse.

Kendzior was grasping at straws, at best, in her attempt to look out for the privacy of Long’s children. She wrote the post indicating that she was concerned about Long’s feelings and attitude toward the kids, that she “fantasizes about beating them, locking them up and giving them away,” and because they’re about to become the subject of more and more media attention as the ‘I am Adam Lanza’s Mother’ post continues to spread, that she’s worried about them. I understand her point, I really do. Long’s post does include a picture of her son and probably should not.  However, Long has 41 total posts since her first in in July 2008, and in only 2 of them does she include any photos of her kids in any way. She references to writing for magazines quite a few times, so it doesn’t seem like this post was done to suddenly get media attention; it seems like she could have already had it. People keep talking about a media tour… but I have seen nor heard nothing that sounds like she’s taking this show on the road, and it doesn’t seem like she would even be about to do so. She took the (naive) step of changing her son’s name, so at least she made an attempt at protecting him.

All in all, while I can respect the concern for the privacy of Long’s son, because yes, he will likely see that some day (if he hasn’t already) and that will probably cause incredible damage. However, the post does not disparage him, it merely shows a mother at her wit’s end trying to figure out how to navigate her son’s world.


Compare & Contrast



Obama: What Have You Done For Me Lately?


So we all know there are things Obama hasn’t done. Even as a supporter I can say that. I will throw a lot of it on Congress, stonewalling him at as many turns as they could, but I will also say that he came into office with a lot of great plans, but didn’t have a clue to implement them once he got there.

That being said, what has he done? Well,  I’ll tell you (some things on this list might not be laws exactly, but they demonstrate the direction society is going):

  • Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers
  • Significantly increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act
  • The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009: a $789 billion economic stimulus plan
  • Created more private sector jobs in 2010 than during entire previous administration
  • Provided $12.2 Billion in new funding for Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
  • Voluntary disclosure of White House visitors for the first time in US history
  • Appointed first Latina to the US Supreme Court
  • Promoted social responsibility through creation of serve.gov, a national database of volunteer opportunities
  • Reversed ‘global gag rule’, allowing US aid to go to organizations regardless of whether they provide abortions
  • Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, giving the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco
  • Signed New START Treaty – nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia
  • First president to endorse same-sex marriage equality
  • Extended Benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
  • Appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in US history
  • Provided travel expenses to families of fallen soldiers to be present when their deceased arrives at Dover AFB
  • Reversed the policy of barring media coverage during the return of fallen soldiers to Dover Air Force Base
  • Launched recovery.gov to track spending from the Recovery Act, providing transparency and allowing the public to report fraud, waste, or abuse
  • Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans
  • Signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which provides health care to 11 million kids — 4 million of whom were previously uninsured
  • Health Care Reform Bill, preventing insurance companies from denying insurance because of a pre-existing condition
  • Health Care Reform Bill, allowing children to remain covered by their parents’ insurance until the age of 26
  • Issued executive order to repeal Bush era restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
  • Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis
  • Developed stimulus package, which includes approx. $18 billion for nondefense scientific research and development
  • Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system
  • Issued executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay
  • Ended CIA program of ‘enhanced interrogation methods‘ by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terrorism interrogations
  • Established Credit Card Bill of Rights, preventing credit card companies from imposing arbitrary rate increases on customers
  • Tax cuts for up to 3.5 million small businesses to help pay for employee health care coverage
  • Tax credits for up to 29 million individuals to help pay for health insurance
  • Require health insurance plans to disclose how much of the premium actually goes to patient care
  • Cut prescription drug cost for medicare recipients by 50%
  • Expansion of Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level
  • Added 4.6 billion USD to the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
  • Lifted restrictions granting Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island
  • Eliminated subsidies to private lender middlemen of student loans and protect student borrowers
  • Significantly expanded Pell grants, which help low-income students pay for college
  • Increased funding for national parks and forests by 10%
  • Expanded hate crime law in the US to include sexual orientation through the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
  • Provided stimulus funding to boost private sector spaceflight programs
  • Appointed nation’s first Chief Technology Officer
  • Signed financial reform law establishing a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to look out for the interests of everyday Americans
  • Signed financial reform law requiring lenders to verify applicants’ credit history, income, and employment status
  • Signed financial reform law prohibiting banks from engaging in proprietary trading (trading the bank’s own money to turn a profit, often in conflict with their customers’ interests)
  • Signed financial reform law allowing shareholders of publicly traded companies to vote on executive pay

So… you know, it’s not like he was sitting around twiddling his thumbs all these years. Just in case you were wondering. The big one, of course, is the location and elimination of Osama Bin Laden, but I’ll let the servicemen keep that one.


Just a little reminder…


Now that the RNC is over… Let’s take a moment to focus on, what I feel, are some of the most important issues. After all, everything else they talked about was a load of crap.

It seems that everyone, including Romney and Ryan, can agree that Todd Akin (R-MO) is a total idiot. I’m happy to know that they have at least one shred of human decency and common sense within them that they – wait, what’s that? They actually feel similarly?

 

 

And Clint Eastwood. Really? Despite the fact that he’s Pro-Choice, doesn’t believe that global warming is anything more than us fucking up the atmosphere, and he supports marriage equality. Yet, there he is,  speaking on behalf of these idiots.


Pro-Birth



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